Chinese security forces shot dead five ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs in the third consecutive week of fatal shootings in a restive county in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, an exile Uyghur group said Monday [14 October 2013], accusing the authorities of a “cover-up”.
The latest killing in Yingwusitang township in Yarkand (in Chinese, Shache) county, which is administered by the Silk Road city of Kashgar, occurred on Friday [11 October 2013] when police surrounded a house and gunned down five occupants who had not been suspects of any crime, according to the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress.
Dilxat Raxit, the Sweden-based spokesman for the group, accused the authorities of using excessive force in the incident, saying it was unfortunate that the killings came ahead of the Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of Sacrifice, to be observed on Tuesday [15 October 2013].
“Ahead of the festival, Chinese armed personnel surrounded a Uyghur house in Yarkand. They opened fire and caused the death of five Uyghurs. They used excessive force,” he told RFA’s Cantonese Service.
“The authorities have tried to cover up the news. They thought some suspects were inside [the house],” he said, suggesting that the five had done nothing wrong.
A staff of the police station at Yingwusitang, when contacted, said he did not know about the shooting incident.
A local motel staff said the shooting occurred after “some disruptive people escaped and they [the police] could not arrest them.”
In the previous two weeks, seven Uyghurs had been shot dead by police in separate clashes in Yarkand county, underlining a trend of increasing violence in Xinjiang, where the minority Muslim